It’s been a little while and I’m very sorry I didn’t give you any warning that I’d be away for so long. Motherhood is so new to me and I really had no idea what to expect or how I would find it. I thought I’d be away from the blog for three months, and then back to shooting and writing, but it’s been six months and I still don’t feel ready to commit to regular posts, just yet. Being a mum is my top priority now and I’m putting my whole heart into it. I want to be the best mum I can be to Isabelle and that means being present for her. My oldest friend told me last week that it’s the best thing I could possibly do, as I’ll never get this time with her again.
In truth, I feel so lucky and privileged to be Isabelle’s mum. She’s easygoing, settled and very happy the majority of the time. She only really cries if she’s tired, hungry or needs her nappy changing. It’s not always easy, it’s been very tough at times (there have been tears) but it’s incredibly rewarding in equal measure. She’s absolutely the best thing to happen to me/us in a long time.
Every day she changes; growing and developing new skills, and I really don’t want to miss any of it. I’m incredibly fortunate that my husband is supporting us and has given me this time to spend with her. So you can probably see why I might be a bit reluctant to commit to lots of post when they take up so much time to create, time away from Isabelle.
Depression, Anxiety & The Pressures of Motherhood
Pregnancy forced me to look inward and face the mental health issues I’ve struggled with in the past – nothing like bringing a little human into this world to make you want to get your shit together. I want to let go of the past and move forward as a happier, healthier person so that Isabelle grows up seeing me that way and is encouraged to be that way too. I’m planning to do some journaling to help get everything out of my head and hopefully put it all to rest.
I would describe myself as an anxious first-time mum, and I didn’t think I would be. At first I was nervous leaving the house with Isabelle, always worrying something would happen to her. I’m conscious that if not kept in check I’ll end up with an anxious baby; at the moment she’s far from it. At six months old she already has a wonderful, inquisitive, sociable and happy personality that is infectious to be around. I’ve gotten less anxious over time as Isabelle has become a little more robust and a little less fragile. As she grows I know I have to find the confidence to expose her to new experiences, otherwise I won’t be doing the best job I can. I’m taking it all one step at a time.
Over the last six months, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to meet Isabelle’s every need; feeding, changing, carrying, bouncing, pushing and generally entertaining her with a focus on her development. With little to no help from anyone except Dan, it’s been exhausting and overwhelming at times. Reading a few articles on Motherly and ‘What Mothers Do’ by Naomi Stadlan helped me to realise I’ve been doing more than enough. Friends and family regularly point out what a happy baby she is which helps reaffirm I’m doing a good job. It’s just so hard to know where to draw the line on doing a good job and running myself into the ground.
I thought I’d be the sort of mum that carried on with her life as before, only with a baby in tow. I realise now that I’d be doing Isabelle an injustice if I were to pretend everything was still the same. I’m not in a rush to return to my old life, this new one is far more exciting.
My Body, Now
In the 40ish weeks of pregnancy your body changes to the point you no longer recognise it. It takes a lot longer for it to recover, some say up to 18 months. Initially, I found it hard to cope with the ‘buddha-belly’ bump that was left behind after birth but it has shrunk and I now fit back into my old clothes (thanks to breastfeeding and a lot of walking). I don’t think my body will ever be quite the same again but I’ve found a new confidence and have fewer worries about it. I’m lucky that I didn’t gain any new stretch-marks (possibly due to my pregnancy routine). I still find it hard to believe that I grew this little person in MY body, it’s incredible.
It might not be for everyone but I’m so pleased that I’ve breastfed Isabelle. It’s not the easiest but I’ve been luckier than most, with both of us taking to it quickly. I credit Harriet, a Head Midwife at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, for insisting I persevere and showing me how to do it that first, shattered day. It helped Isabelle and I bond quickly thanks to the physical closeness, as well as the oxytocin (the hormone that also stimulates milk production). There are so many amazing things contained in breastmilk that she can’t get from formula, including some essential antibodies that continue to strengthen her immune system.
There have been a few struggles, too. The worst has got to be blocked ducts which I’ve had several time; once so bad that I ended up brandishing a needle to my nipple. Day-to-day, I feel sick almost every time oxytocin is released into my bloodstream. It doesn’t last long but catches me off-guard constantly. Usually, it’s just as I’ve made something to eat and then I don’t feel like eating. I’ve also found breastfeeding a little restricting at times, especially early on when I needed to feed her more regularly. Knowing where you can breastfeed comfortably makes such a difference. Legally you can do it anywhere. Isabelle also went through a phase of being so distracted when we were out that she wouldn’t feed, so I needed to be at home to feed her.
I look at the world so differently now and want to make it a better place for Isabelle, for her future. I’m thinking more about sustainability, how I can make more changes in my life and encourage others to, as well. You’ll see me featuring a lot more (if not all) sustainably and ethically produced products; alongside lots of older products that I’ve owned for a while. I’m also going to be passing on items that no longer work for me in the hope that they do for others. Keep a look out in my Instagram Stories and in the highlights under #PassItOn.
Baukjen Ashton Trench Coat* (on sale) | Beaumont Organic NICO Organic Cotton Hoodie in Navy* | Arket Organic Cotton Regular Overdyed Jeans in Pink | Woman by Common Projects Original Achilles Low Trainers | Ace & Tate Suzy Sunglasses in Bio Black* | Auree Brompton 9ct Yellow Gold Bangle*
Photography by Hannah Barnard
Products marked with an asterisk have been given to me to review. I only feature brands and businesses that I truly love and believe fit my ethos. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.